Mark Cohen (born 1943) appeared on the American photography scene in the early 1970s and, in the ensuing decades, distinguished himself as one of the most original American street photographers. Working primarily in the small Rust Belt cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he lives, Cohen photographs people and places encountered at random.
Cohen’s pictures are often unsettling, showing us a world filled with anxieties, accidents and desires. He approaches these motifs, however, with surprisingly gentle humor. While Cohen’s photographs seem to reveal elemental aspects of human behavior and urban life, they are far from objective documents. He often employs an aggressive flash and radical cropping, so the resulting images are clearly shaped as much by Cohen’s encounters with his subjects as by the people and places themselves.
This exhibition surveys a select group of fifty of Cohen’s black-and-white and color photographs made over the past forty years. Together, these pictures chart the transformations that have happened in cities such as Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in those decades, demonstrating that even the most subjective photographs can reveal historical truths.
Curator: Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center
Location: Julien Levy Gallery, first floor, Perelman Building